Audi tests LMP1 sports car for 2012

  • Tests at Sebring (U.S. state of Florida)
  • Six Le Mans winners at the wheel
  • Preparation for 2012 season
Editors note: The notable absence of  Porsche drivers Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, and Audi Sport driver Mike Rockenfeller match up to the rumors that we’ve been hearing about a line-up change for Audi. We will post more once we get official word from Audi.

Audi Sport is intensively preparing for the 2012 sports prototype season. A test team has started the next trial phase of the LMP1 sports car for the 2012 season in the United States this week.

After the previous tests of the further development of this year’s Le Mans winning car took place behind closed doors, Audi is now going into public at a race track for the first time. Since this Saturday, Audi Sport has been running tests with two vehicles at the Sebring (Florida) circuit. The second LMP1 sports car serves to compare the test results. Taking turns at the wheel of the two development vehicles are the 2011 Le Mans winners, the Swiss Marcel Fässler, the German André Lotterer and the Frenchman Benoît Tréluyer. Also involved in the tests are Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, who were last victorious at Le Mans in 2008.
The tradition-steeped American circuit has a special significance for Audi, not only because Audi has celebrated nine victories at the Sebring 12 Hours since the 2000 season. The 5.95-kilometer track that features 17 highly different types of turns offers plenty of variety, which makes for excellent test conditions. The rough concrete of the former airfield’s take-off and landing strip in combination with the tarmac of the other track sectors puts the material to a particularly tough test. On March 17th, the 12-hour race will open the new FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) as well as the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at this venue.
While the component tests have already started, Audi will not announce the details of the 2012 racing program, the driver line-up and the technical state of the development until a later date. 


Update: The sharp eyed folks at  have picked up on some major changes to the R18: 

But perhaps more importantly, the front suspension also has been revised.  We know this as the as the bulge from the pushrod is gone.  This suggests a rather substantial redesign, making one wondering how deep that revision has gone because altering torsion bar locations would require modifications to the design of the monocoque.  And of course there already is that rumor out there; that Audi has done just that and designed and manufactured a new tub for 2012.  Could this be it?

Follow the to read their full analysis. 

[Source: Audi-Motorsport]
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